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Truth & Rumors: Oakley reportedly sues McIlroy and Nike over contract

Oakley filed a lawsuit against both Rory McIlroy and Nike, claiming that McIlroy breached his contract with Oakley when he signed a new endorsement deal with Nike, according to a report by ESPN's Lester Munson.

According to a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Santa Ana, Calif., Oakley tried to use its right of first refusal to match the Nike offer, but McIlroy and his agent, Conor Ridge, ignored their counteroffer, thereby breaching the Oakley-McIroy contract.

Oakley claims in its lawsuit that its contractual rights for McIlroy's endorsements of its eyewear and performance apparel would be 30 percent of the Nike package. If the reports in European golf publications of a $200 million deal with Nike are accurate, then Oakley offered about $60 million to continue its deal with McIlroy. No one involved in the dispute will confirm the magnitude of the Nike offer, and it is described in the court papers only as an offer of "$_M."

According to Oakley, the damage that has resulted from McIlroy's refusal to renew with Oakley is "irreparable" and entitles Oakley to an injunction that would stop Nike and McIlroy from concluding or implementing their contract. Oakley is also claiming money damages but does not specify any amount and asserts that it has spent $300,000 on a photo shoot for the products McIlroy would have endorsed in 2013.

While McIlroy's impending megadeal with Nike has been widely discussed in the media, neither McIlroy nor Nike has confirmed the deal. In addition to Oakley, McIlroy is under contract to Titleist until Dec. 31, 2012. Related Galleries: McIlroy's Historic Season | Rory and Caroline | Rory's Life in Pictures
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by Kevin Cunningham